Stone Sour has made a strong return to the charts with Hydrograd, released June 30 on Roadrunner Records. The first album to feature guitarist Christian Martucci, who replaced Jim Root after his dismissal was confirmed in 2014, became the alternative hard-rock band’s second No. 1 on Billboard‘s Hard Rock Albums chart when it debuted in the top spot with 33,000 equivalent album units. (Its first chart-topper was 2012’s House of Gold and Bones: Part 1.)
Hydrograd also debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard 200, the quintet’s fifth top 10 on that list. Meanwhile, “Song #3,” one of the two singles that introduced the album, is the fourth Stone Sour song to reach No. 1 on Mainstream Rock Songs chart, remaining there for four weeks.
Fans aren’t the only ones who have connected with Hydrograd: Singer Corey Taylor says that when Stone Sour was in the studio, it “loved every f—ing second” of recording.
“We f—ing laughed. We hung out. We were there early; we left late,” he recalls. “We were there whether we had to work or not, because we wanted to be here for each other.”
Taylor calls it “the most wonderful experience” he’s ever had since recording the 1999 self-titled debut for his other band, Slipknot: “I don’t know if we’ll ever top this as far as a recording experience. I hope we forget how much we enjoyed it, because I don’t want us to chase that.”
While Taylor says the band wanted to make a “feel-good album,” that doesn’t mean Hydrograd lacks the assertive style Stone Sour’s known for — or that Taylor held back from venting what’s on his mind. Case in point: his ire regarding social-media stars like “Cash Me Outside” girl Danielle Bregoli, who acted as the surprising inspiration for “Fabuless,” Hydrograd‘s other introductory single. Below, he also discusses how he processes different things with each band and how “Song #3” was an attempt to write a love song that wasn’t just about a broken heart or a booty call.
Slipknot and Stone Sour are very different entities in terms of sound and style. What emotional things do you work through in Stone Sour as opposed to Slipknot?
The Stone Sour side is … definitely much more of an approachable side in a lot of ways. I think that allows me to deal with some of the hits that I’ve taken in my relationship side of life. Definitely a little more of the romantic side. Maybe some of the more melancholy moments instead of just dipping straight into that darker rage, which I definitely have a tendency to do when I’m in Slipknot mode.
With Stone Sour mode, it’s a little more contemplative. It’s a little more almost like pensive. But I try to flip that on its head and look at things from a different point of view, whereas a lot of people tend to write from more of a clichéd side when it comes to relationships or even when it comes to that energy between anybody when it comes to sex or anything like that.
When the narrative of a song is furious about what’s happening in a relationship, where do you go to pull that out when you’re not actually feeling that in your life?
You dip into the past. The worst thing we can do is forget. Obviously, that’s the best way to repeat history is to forget. For me, I remember everything. I remember how it felt, I remember how it looked. I remember all these things, and I’m able to put myself in that moment and look at it and write about it just as poignantly as I would if it had happened to me yesterday.
What inspired “Fabuless”?
If there was such a thing as a hate letter instead of a love letter, that’s my hate letter to social-media celebrities, quote unquote, because I don’t get it. I just really don’t. If I ever had such an angry hard-on for reality television celebrities, social-media celebrities make them look like the Rat Pack, for f—’s sake. I mean, it’s insane. I’m like, “What have you done? What did you do? What exactly do you do?”
It’s infuriating, because I see all these people with all this talent, and they can’t even get past a bouncer into a club to do a gig. And yet here are all of these people who are essentially memes, and they’re being offered movie deals, book deals, million-dollar club walkthroughs, and all this shit. I’m like, “You have to be kidding me.” It is insulting. So that’s what that song is about, and I feel we captured the f—ing bite on that one.
Any social-media stars in particular that set you off?
The one that really triggered it was that “Cash Me Outside” chick. I don’t even know her name. I get such an ill feeling looking at that whole situation and the fact that she is such a reflection of the American culture right now. It’s a reflection of everything — politically, traditionally, socially.
Watch the video for “Fabuless” below:
She’s extremely young, and a lot of it can be put down to we don’t know what kind of a support system she has. As somebody who has been a celebrity for a long time, what would you recommend that she keep an eye out for?
When the number of quote unquote friends you have quadruples overnight, that’s a sign that maybe something’s up. It’s a tricky slope. I went through it pretty early on, and I was loaded at the time. I was dealing with my own alcoholic demons, and it just seemed like everybody was there to take, take, take, and nobody was giving at all. So my advice for her would be, “Go back to the people you knew before this happened, find that person that you trust, and either throw your armor on their shoulder or put them at your back, because if you don’t, you’re going to be against the wall, and people are going to close in on you.”
How did Christian Martucci’s joining the band affect the writing and recording dynamic?
Between Tuch and [bassist Johny] Chow, there was such an invigoration. Like an infusion of new energy and music that came in. It was almost like they’d never not been there. They fit so well with the writing process because we’ve all always written … I think the one change, and this is in no way derogatory, was it was easier for us to get stuff together quicker. It was easier for us to get on the same page and focus on the songs that we were feeling and really get to work.
If somebody had an idea that clicked, it clicked a lot faster?
Absolutely. And it clicked even faster because we played it as a band. Instead of us sending demos around between Christian and [guitarist] Josh [Rand], those guys got together and started working on stuff in a live sense: recording it together in the demo stages, taking the stuff that we had written, learning them and then re-recording it as a band. That put us on the path to recording it live in the studio.
What is the story behind “Song #3”?
Remember when I was talking about trying to stay away from the clichéd nuances that can come from writing about love and passion? … This was me trying to talk about that other side of passion that people don’t talk about, that passion that naturally comes out in that middle ground. ‘Cause people either want to talk about the broken heart or that undying love, or f—ing, basically. There’s like no real middle ground when it comes to what they’re talking about. They either want your heart or your booty. That’s very funny. So this is me trying to carve out that middle ground where it’s like, “Yes, I love you with all my heart, but God, girl, you do something for me.”